The well-known sports entertainment companies announced on Monday that they will merge to create a $21 billion publicly traded corporation that will house both organizations.
Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., which runs the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will have a 51% controlling interest in the new company, while World Wrestling Entertainment shareholders will account for the remaining 49% interest.
“Together, we will be a $21+ billion live sports and entertainment powerhouse with a collective fanbase of more than a billion people and an exciting growth opportunity,” said Vince McMahon, the executive chairman of WWE, who will hold the same position with the new company.
“The new company will be well positioned to maximize the value of our combined media rights, enhance sponsorship monetization, develop new forms of content, and pursue other strategic mergers and acquisitions to further bolster our strong stable of brands.”
UFC, the mixed-martial-arts juggernaut that helped propel Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey to global fame, is valued at $12.1 billion, according to the agreement. WWE, the longtime wrestling leader that’s counted John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson among its stars, is valued at $9.3 billion.
Ariel Emanuel will remain the Chief Executive Officer of Endeavor.
“This is a rare opportunity to create a global live sports and entertainment pureplay built for where the industry is headed,” Emanuel said. “For decades, Vince and his team have demonstrated an incredible track record of innovation and shareholder value creation, and we are confident that Endeavor can deliver significant additional value for shareholders by bringing UFC and WWE together.”
McMahon, 77, stepped back from WWE last year amid an investigation into claims he paid millions of dollars to keep sexual misconduct allegations quiet. He returned to his role in January and reimbursed the company with $17.4 million to cover the investigation costs, according to an SEC filing.
Monday’s announcement follows a weekend in which the WWE hosted the 39th edition of its biggest annual event, WrestleMania, in Los Angeles.
The new company is expected to be listed as “TKO” — a reference to the wrestling term “technical knockout” — on the New York Stock Exchange.